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India cautiously watching China's military growth: IAF Chief

IAF chief Air Chief Marshal PV Naik

NEW DELHI (PTI): Observing that India is watching "with caution" China's military modernisation, IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal P V Naik Monday said anything that impacts on the nation's growth is a matter of concern.

"Anything that upsets the growth of the nation (India) a matter of concern. It is viewed as such and planned for," the Air Chief said at his annual press conference here.

"All neighbours -- borrowing Chanakya's quotes -- have to be watched with caution on the impact and growth of our nation. So we watch all neighbours, be it the smallest or the largest, with caution," he said.

He was responding to a query on what he thought of the military infrastructure development of China and also by it in Tibet.

However, he said, India strongly believed in the sovereignty of every neighbour and their right to do what they wanted within their country's boundaries. "We are neighbours and we must respect the sovereignty of each country."

He said the IAF's modernisation plans were "capability-based and not adversary-specific" and that it was dictated by the national aspirations.

"Even Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said that India's area of responsibility extends from Hormus Straits to the Malacca Straits and beyond. Yeh hoga future mein (It will happen in the future). We see what capability is required to meet this aspiration and accordingly modernisation and procurements are planned," he added.

Naik said the procurement plans of the IAF stood on "four pillars of see, reach, hit and protect."

Asked if the IAF too was tweaking its doctrines to match the Army's new doctrine of preparing for a two-front simultaneous war with Pakistan and China, Naik said, "Air Force prepares for multi-front war. It is not single-front or other front or something.

"It is in terms of allocation of forces that you distinguish. Otherwise, we are preparing for multi-dimensional, multi-faceted, multi-front war."

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